Humans and dogs have been partners since the beginning of canine domestication. Hunting dogs have been around for some time and were used by hunters to perform hunting tasks to survive back in the days. Though the practice of hunting has evolved and changed over the years, dogs have remained to be trusted hunting partners because of their skills.
One of the perfect dog breeds suited to hunting activities is the bird dog breed. This dog breed can help to locate and retrieving prey animals, especially birds. These dogs have a heightened sense of smell that is helpful in hunting.
Read on to know the most popular bird dog breeds and how to choose them.
What are the Commonly Known Best Bird Dogs?
There are different types of bird dog breeds to choose from. Below is a list of some of the most popular bird dogs that will ensure a successful hunt.
1. Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever has a long history in the field of hunting and sports due to their terrific skills. These dogs are highly trainable and versatile. These dogs are obedient, enthusiastic, intelligent, energetic, and friendly.
The Golden Retrievers are not only skilled inland but also in water, making them quite helpful with waterfowl hunting. They have soft mouths that allow them to handle waterfowls gently and delicately. Besides, the Golden Retriever dogs hey have webbed toes that make them fit for swimming.
2. Labrador Retriever
Commonly known to be good in waterfowl and upland game, Labs are a popular hunting breed. They are capable of alerting their partner hunters when a bird is around. Because of their temperament—outgoing, active, and friendly, they are helpful as service dogs and are used by the police to conduct search and rescue operations.
These dogs have an athletic and agile body that allows them to hunt at a closer range. They are high-spirited and are perfect waterfowl hunters because they like swimming a lot.
3. Hungarian Pointer
These dogs are also known as Vizsla. They have a strong stance when hunting. Because of their pointing activities, they usually accompany hunters who track rabbits and water birds.
Hungarian Pointers are called pointers because they eventually can lead the hunter to the animal being tracked. They are athletic dogs that can master a variety of hunting techniques. Besides, they are known to have a strong sense of smell as well.
4. English Springer Spaniel
Although Spaniels are medium-sized dogs, they are known to be good companion gundogs for hunters. These dogs have enough stamina and intelligence when retrieving prey and are a real prized bird dog breed because of their ability to rear-drive. This is a movement that consists of a forward thrust and then drives from the rear.
They can drive animals from their known hiding places and are, especially, skilled in hunting pheasants. Regardless of their hunting skills, English Springer Spaniel is a friendly breed and some families decide to have them as pets.
The Brittany is a breed that is known to flush game birds. They provoke birds to flee and their quickness and athleticism make them ideal hunting companions. They are zealous, versatile, and intelligent. Furthermore, they are quick-footed and are known to be tireless when they are in the field.
6. German Shorthaired Pointer
The German Shorthaired Pointer breed originated from Germany. This is not surprising since a lot of German dogs can be used as hunting dogs, working dogs, or even as fascinating family pets.
This dog breed is versatile and can perform multiple hunting tasks. It can be trained to be a pointer or a retriever and can perform both small and large hunting games. Being a highly active breed, this pointer breed has an increased need for exercise. Plus, they make great companions.
Finding the Best Bird Dog Breed for You
Today, there are a lot of incredible breeds that hunters can choose from. However, the most important question to ask yourself is the type of hunting you want to do and the location where you prefer to do the activity.
When choosing the right breed, there are several things that you need to consider such as the climate, the landscape, and the type of birds you will be hunting. Where will you go bird hunting? Are you going to hunt on land or will you be hunting in the water as well?
Once you identify the kind of hunting activity you would like to pursue, picking your dog companion would be very easy. Many working dogs have the skills—you just need to know which dog breed can better accompany you as you go out hunting in the field. Make sure that you do thorough research to decide which dog fits your lifestyle and personality.
Training Your Bird Dog
Once you find the right bird dog that fits your lifestyle, training them is another important step in your bird hunting journey. It can be quite difficult at first because you need to teach your dog the necessary skills he needs to learn hunting. First-time hunting dog owners may choose to enroll in a training class to get substantial knowledge.
Generally, training your dogs will help you to improve their social skills such as having basic obedience and the ability to understand basic commands as well as the strength of their prey drive. You should learn to communicate with each other since this will come in handy when hunting out in the field.
You will know that your dog is ready to go out in the field once he’s already comfortable, reliable, and eager to chase animals. In this case, you can start introducing your dog to birds to slowly acquaint him with the field environment.
There is no denying that training your bird dog requires a lot of time, effort, and perseverance. Therefore, the more time you spend together hunting, the better you can sharpen his skills as a hunting partner. After he becomes excellent as a bird dog, hunting with him will become remarkably fun and exciting.
Our choices of the best bird dog breeds have the skills, energy, and instinct to be great companions in the field. With hundreds of hunting dogs to choose from, determining the right bird dog breed will give you an exceptional experience in the field.